Meet Ghana’s Belinda Osei, the young and daring lady who took the courage to break the mold, translate her dreams to reality and inspire other young Africans to take charge of their spheres.
This purposeful female entrepreneur who runs a natural cosmetics production business, Belis Natural Glow, decided to embrace her creativity and turn her love of home made natural cosmetics into a flourishing business.
She talks about her journey- birth, discoveries, experiences and undying love for nature.
KA: Birth, Ethnicity, Education…………………
BELINDA: I was born in Techiman in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana, on the 10th of September 1988. I started schooling at the age of 4, too early though. I was staying a bit close to the street, so I usually see students around and I was always crying to go to school. My mum sent me to one of the teachers so I could just be with the students to make me happy. I eventually started at Ameyaw L/A for my primary education, then went to Adventist JHS before moving to Notre Dame Senior High and then to Pentecost University for a BSc in Marketing.
KA: Starting out…………..
BELINDA: Producing natural cosmetics has always been my passion, so I contacted people who are already in the business for guide lines. I also do a lot of research on what I am doing.
I have always wanted to produce something to help solve a problem either in hair or on the skin. So I had a small girl in my house whose front hair was always white as if there is flour in there. I wanted to help her and I started by searching the net and making some concoction for the hair. I relaxed and told myself I can do it. I made sure I knew the importance of the herbs and oil I was using on the girl’s hair. Until finally it’s gone and left for ever.
KA: Building Belis Natural Glow………………
BELINDA: I contacted few people who are already in the business. Some never responded to me others will tell me they are busy and some even removed me as their friends on Facebook. The ones who responded told me what I needed to start. And so I started with my life savings of GHS400. It wasn’t much though but I needed to get the right ingredients and containers for my products. I failed in preparing some and will lock myself and cry in the room. Then I will go back to my mentors and tell them I’ve failed. They will motivate and encourage me to try again till now.
KA: The journey so far……………..
BELINDA: I’m still on the rough road though. Still contacting people who can help me rise in form of adverts, referrals etc. One funny thing because of where am coming from that’s Techiman people think nothing good can come from here. You send your products to someone and they tell you it is a local product so they don’t need it. But there are few ones who will take it. I am still in the process of rising up.
KA: Kindly tell us a bit about your brand and products
BELINDA: I have pure natural cream and soap which are made of 100% Shea butter, coconut oil, Moringa and hibiscus. It nourishes and protects the skin from minor skin diseases. It ensures even skin tone. The soap works in hand with the cream. I also have antidandruff hair cream which is very good for people who have dandruff in their hair. Also hair vitamins which also makes the hair grow, makes it soft and silky.
I also produce Baby cream which makes the babies skin soft and protect it from minor skin diseases.
KA: Every startup is at some point faced with challenges. What challenges have you experienced so far?
BELINDA: Hmmm….. it has never been easy, when you are not getting the right ingredients and labels and people to correct you. When your own people are rejecting your products just because they want it from other cities and country.
KA: Any success stories so far?
BELINDA: Yes, now I have people who want to wholesale my products into their stores, some contacting me for customised products. I am still at the beginning stage though but so far all those who have used my products do come back. I also have people who are happy with what I am doing and are willing to learn.
KA: Looking back, what opportunities do you imagine you would have lost if you had walked a different path?
BELINDA: I would have missed the opportunity of meeting people like Dr. Gifty Anti, Madam Sophia Naa Dei Antonio and Madam Sylamadel Coke. I wouldn’t have been able to experience some challenges of life and also I would have killed my passion and I won’t be able to contribute to our “made in” Ghana products.
KA: How many people have you employed so far?
BELINDA: I have 4 people now and will employ more as we move forward.
KA: What would you say has been the biggest failure in your entrepreneurial journey?
BELINDA: I have not encountered such a big failure since I started.
KA: Africa will rise when?
BELINDA: we begin to encourage ourselves and purchase our own products.
KA: Besides promoting your natural cosmetic products, what other plans do you have for the future?
BELINDA: Holding seminars, visiting schools especially SHS to educate them. Helping other young people attain the height that I have attained and also training people on the skills I have acquired.
KA: Any mentors/role models?
BELINDA: Dr. Gifty Anti, Madam Sophia Naa Dei Antonio and Madam Sylmadel Coke.
KA: How would you love to be remembered?
BELINDA: As the lady who used local oils and herbs to help solve various hair and skin diseases; and through that, was able to create employment for others.
KA: Inspire young Africans in one sentence
BELINDA: The road to success is very rough but they should still encourage themselves and rise through their failure and they will surely get there.
The original manuscript was submitted by Akpah Prince a Ghanaian Blogger and Freelance Writer and has been edited.